Hurshel Roy Phillips

Hurshel Roy Phillips, 79, died from complications associated with ALS on October 1st in Orting, Washington. The eldest of four siblings, Hurshel was born in Muskeegan, Michigan on June 7th 1940 to Hurshel “Buck” and Ocie Fay Phillips. In his early years the family travelled throughout the country following his father’s career welding/pipefitting, and even commercial fishing on the Columbia River.

Hurshel attended Butte County High School in Arco, Idaho where he was nick named “Hot Rod” and had the prestigious title of Captain of the football team, class of 1960. He entered into the service with the Army a few months later, and served as an Engineer in SE Asia including Korea, Thailand and Vietnam.

Hurshel met the love of his life Nadean Miller towards the end of his military service and moved to Olympia, Washington where they were married on February 20th, 1965. Hurshel remained dedicated to Nadean for the remainder of his life 54 years, 7 months, and 11 days. He worked as a Marine Mechanic for Simpson Timber Company 24 years, and retired as a Construction and Maintenance Supervisor for Washington State Corrections.

Hurshel was the devoted Husband, Father, Brother, Friend, and Mentor. Hurshel embodied the adage: “Work hard, play hard”. He loved the outdoors: an open road on a motorcycle, a hike on the tundra, a forest trail, the brine of the sea, a calm lake, or the high desert. He had a life-long passion for two wheels from riding Harley Davidsons and Indians in High School to competing in hill climb, enduro, and desert motorcycle events in the 1960-70s; and in his later years enjoyed riding dual sports and cruisers. Hobbies included woodworking, archery, boats, fishing, and hunting for both game and gold. Hurshel loved an open place where he could seek out his next adventure – either on his own or better yet with a companion.

Hurshel was part Native American, primarily Cherokee and Osage, and was a member of the Georgia Cherokee Tribe, where he was known as Lone Wolf. He was involved locally with the Skokomish Tribe near Shelton, Washington. When he learned of community needs through Tribal associates and friends, Hurshel freely gave of his artistic and mechanical skills. In appreciation he was adopted by the Skokomish Tribe in 1978, an honor which Hurshel cherished.

Hurshel Roy Phillips is survived by his wife Nadean, son Chad Hurshel, his brothers Nathan and Chesley, and his sister Nina Johnson.

A Memorial Service will be held Saturday October 26th, 2019 from 2-3pm at the Orting Soldier’s Home Chapel, 1301 Orting-Kapowsin Hwy. Reception to follow at Chilson Hall (also located in Orting Soldier’s Home) from 3-4:30pm at the Soldier’s Home. Friends and Family are welcome to attend.

For updated info regarding the Memorial Service and to post your memories of Hurshel Roy Phillips online go to Curnow Funeral Home’s website:

The Unknown Shore


Sometime at eve when the tide is high, I shall slip my moorings and sail away,

With no response to a friendly hail, of kindred craft on the busy bay, in the silent hush of the twilight pale,

When the night stoops down to embrace the day; and the voices call and the water's ebb.

Sometime at eve when the tide is high, I shall slip my moorings and sail away.

Through purple shadows that darkly trail, o'er the ebbing tide of the unknown sea,

I shall fair me away, with a dip of sail and a ripple of waters to tell the tale, of a lonely voyager, sailing away

To mystic isles, where at anchor lay, the craft of those who had sailed before

O'er the unknown sea to the unknown shore.

A few who have watched me sail away, may miss my craft from the busy bay;

Some friendly vessels anchored near, some loving souls that my heart held dear

In silent sorrow may drop a tear; but I shall have peacefully furled my sail

In moorings sheltered from the storm and gale, and greeted family and friends who had sailed before

O'er the unknown sea to the unknown shore.

Based on the Poem by Elizabeth Clark Hardy